One of the most referenced posts at this blog was on a pencil series made from multiple species of wood by the former Colleen Pencil Co. One of the regular subjects of direct queries to the blog, the top question is “Where can I buy a set?” Unfortunately, the pencils were never available for retail sale, and Colleen has been out of business for many years.
The appeal of the pencils has led me to some informal discussions with pencil companies about what would be involved in creating a new set. What I’ve heard is that using alternate species would be technically challenging, and possibly damaging to carefully tuned pencil manufacturing equipment. For a niche product, even an investigation might not be worthwhile.
Yet, one major manufacturer seems to have had a renewed interest in testing their ability to make truly beautiful and amazing pencils from exotic wood species. This year, Caran d’Ache unveiled Les crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, a series of pencils made from Titanium Oak, Macassar Ebony, Lati Gray, and American Walnut.
A note about the photo – I had already used all four pencils before taking photos, so that isn’t the factory sharpening we see.
If you love beautiful pencils, I cannot imagine that you would not find these amazing. My personal favourite is the Walnut pencil. I enjoyed using it to take notes, and felt quite aware that it has a dual identity – an undeniable luxury, yet still, just a woodcase pencil.
A review at Lexikaliker pointed out some technical shortcomings such as off-centred lead. I didn’t observe this in my pencils, and in any case I believe the achievement in creating an Oak or Walnut pencil is such that I’ll forgive small flaws.
L. to R.: Ebony, Lati, Walnut, Oak
Yes, I have sharpened one (so far), the Macassar Ebony, using a handheld M+R:
Highly recommended for all pencil aficionados.
13 Replies to “Les crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache”
…reeling from…Pencil Talk….overload. Must take shallower breaths…concentrate.
You can’t hit us with these grand slams all at once…give us a few grounders, or a bunt here or there…something. :)
hmmmm wow it’s beautiful by the way where did you get them
Sean, well, we’ll have to try and work on the pace.
Fable, these came from Skripta-Paris. There are other online vendors as well.
You have staged the pencils in a beautiful way! I am happy to hear that there aren’t any flaws in your set. – By the way: When the retailer I got my set from told the CdA sales person about the off-centered leads the sales person told him that I should stop making such a fuss. This is not exactly the reaction I have expected from this company, especially not in view of the set’s price.
Wow, for that price you should expect a perfect set. But anyways, the titanium colored one is stunning!
Do you know where one could buy this set that ships to the US? I looked around but it’s pretty difficult to find this.
Hi John, don’t give up – there are US based retailers, as well as several in Europe. The product has been called “Caran D’ache Exotic Pencil Set” in some English speaking countries – try searching for that term.
The set currently offered at Skripta Paris differs from the one shown here. Is it a new one or have the contents changed?
Gunther, that is the second series. I have received a box, and hope to soon show them.
These pencils will be available from October 1st 2013, at Kadmium Art + Design Supplies, 80B Bay St Ultimo, Sydney AUSTRALIA.
Get in fast as stock is strictly limited and these little beauties WILL SELL OUT!!
Thank you for this detail! I am surprised to see that both sets contain the Lati pencil. – I am eager to see more, especially the blue zebrano pencil.
Where can I get these in 2018? Absolutely stunning!